The brand new Blink mobile app is set to revolutionise hotel booking. The ‘last minute’ formula for mobile has taken the US travel market by storm and five young Spanish entrepreneurs are now bringing this idea from Silicon Valley to the European market.
• With this app, you are only four screen taps away from booking a luxury hotel room.
• More than 200 top hotels have already joined the application, which works with both iPhone and Android operating systems.
• The app was quickly downloaded by more than 36,000 people after only a few weeks on the market; it stayed for several days at number one for downloads in the travel category and was in the top 12 of general downloads in the iPhone Apple Store.
• Blink allows you to book accommodation for up to six days and the booking is made genuinely at the last minute, on the day of arrival itself.
Travellers today are increasingly using technology to compare offers before booking a hotel. The Blink solution reduces the time this takes by bringing together the best hotel discounts at a specific moment and the customer who is looking for same-day accommodation. This is the first mobile app which allows you to book 4 and 5 star hotel rooms in a variety of countries all over Europe for much less than if you were to book them through any other Internet-based platform.
Blink was conceived with the aim of revolutionising the European luxury hotel bookings market by mirroring the extraordinary success of similar applications in the US. In fact, this idea was born when three Spanish entrepreneurs went to study in Palo Alto, in the heart of Silicon Valley and only a few metres away from where Steve Jobs launched Apple. Now the team has returned to Europe with the skills and know-how acquired to launch their concept with which they plan to conquer the European market.They are already off to a good start. In only a few weeks, Blink has amassed more than 200 hotels (all 4 and 5 star), which are willing to offer their rooms at historically low prices. The only condition for taking advantage of these deals is that the booking is made on the day of arrival at the hotel i.e. at the last minute. You can stay at the hotel for up to six days at these exclusive prices.
“The fantastic response from hotels has exceeded our expectations” says one of the Blink founders and the marketing director, Juan Manuel Franco. He estimates that within two months “more than 400 hotels will have joined this platform and the offers will encompass all the major cities in 12 European countries.”
“There is no catch and no secret to the system” says Franco. “In fact, we aren’t even competing with the traditional internet based platforms (such as booking.com or tripadvisor). We have simply found a gap in the market for last minute, same-day hotel bookings. Until now, hotels would receive the least number of bookings on the day the booking starts and that is why they are willing to offer such fantastic discounts. They see this system as a new business avenue.”
It Has Already Created a Stir in the US
This formula is already a success story in the US. However in Europe Blink is creating a world first by allowing users to book hotels in various different countries. “We have started with six countries (Spain, Italy, France, England, Germany and Portugal) and will increase this to twelve (including Belgium, Scotland and Ireland) before the end of the year.” In Spain alone people are able to make bookings in any of the major cities with a choice of more than 200 hotels.In addition, Blink already has master agreements in place with selected hotel chains like High Tech which will fulfil bookings for a variety of cities; and there are several others following in their wake.
Number One in Apple Store within Only a Few Days
After just four weeks on the market (it was working in beta mode for 8 days but was finally launched on 24th October 2011) the app had already been downloaded by more than 36,000 people; it stayed at number one in the travel category for several days (overall it was positioned at no. 12) in the iPhone Apple Store and it has already been “top app of the week” for Apple. In addition, it is compatible with Android and will be implemented on other platforms such as BlackBerry within the next few months.
One of the Blink developers’ main goals was to make the app extremely simple and user-friendly in order to avoid the long booking processes that are common on the Internet. “Four taps of the screen and you have a room. You only have to spend a little more time when you first register to fill out all your details” explains Juan Manuel Franco. “We didn’t want users to be forced to click 30 times to complete their booking - which is the case with some internet platforms - but at the same time, if they want more information they have the option to look at photos, see where the hotel is located on a map and also to get any other details they would like such as how much a bottle of beer costs in the mini-bar. And all of this with only three more taps on their screens.
”The process is really easy. If you want to book a hotel, all you have to do is download the app from your mobile or via http://www.blinkbooking.com. On the first screen, you can select the city that you’d like to stay in. On the second screen, Blink will offer you four hotels to choose from, and on the third, you have the option to get more information on the hotel or go directly to the booking. The fourth screen is the one on which you confirm the booking with one more click, after having verified the information selected. At this point you can choose if you would like to stay for more than one night.
The Young Entrepreneurs Tell Us How The Idea Was Born
“When we got together as a team, the general idea was to create something that combined technology with tourism on an international scale. These are key industries in our home country of Spain and we want to demonstrate that young entrepreneurs can make a mark in these industries with a very simple idea”.“We want to tap in to the creativity and skill for innovation that comes from Europe as well as its great tourism potential and combine this with a business idea that is already working phenomenally in the US”
“The idea for Blink arose when 2 of us were studying for our Masters in Harvard and Stanford, in the heart of Silicon Valley. We had to travel to Europe a lot for work and we identified a vast area for improvement in the hotel booking processes. This is why we developed Blink to revolutionise the way in which hotel bookings are made in Europe, the world capital of tourism”.
How Does Blink Work and How Does It Differ To Other Hotel Booking Formulas?
• Blink revolutionises hotel bookings. With 4 clicks on your mobile you have a room ready for you tonight and at a price that you would never have been able to obtain on the internet.
• How do we achieve these exclusive prices? By offering rooms that wouldn’t otherwise have been sold today. This is why hotels are prepared to give such excellent discounts – it’s better to sell the room at a discounted price than not at all. Because Blink is an application exclusively for use with iPhone and Android, the hotels don’t have to worry about making large discounts to their rack rates public on the internet and in this way they avoid alienating their full rate paying clients.
• Additionally, contrary to other well-known applications that mix hotels of all quality levels, in Blink we personally hand-pick the 10 or 15 hotels of the highest quality or with the most character within the city of choice. We personally visit every single hotel that appears on our application to ensure that each complies with our quality standards. We effectively put in the legwork so that our Blink users don’t have to.In other words, Blink makes it fast and easy for travellers to book a quality hotel at the lowest price.
Also in the news today, City.Mobi is celebrating the success of its new city guides all over the world.
City.Mobi offers the most comprehensive mobile travel guides available, with over 800 cities in 200 countries listed. Each is developed by the City.Mobi team to combine into a single global travel directory.
Sacramento.mobi is the latest in this illustrious line up, offering click to call functionality – which means no scribbling down telephone numbers.
Most entries are also linked to websites where users can quickly access more detailed information if needed.
Other key features include information on accommodation, restaurants, attractions, entertainment, nightlife, shopping, and transport.
City.Mobi guides include user reviews and traveller utilities such as a translation guide, currency converter, news and local weather guide.